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Of marquee player signings and staff layoffs

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Even the casual fan knows that professional sports franchises have not been immune to the lackluster state of the economy.

The Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars are among the teams that have laid off staff members. Even the NFL itself has announced staff reductions, and commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a pay cut.

The Washington Redskins, who laid off 20 of its rank-and-file employees earlier this year, have come under fire from Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins. She weighs in today about the Redskins' signing of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth last week to the tune of $100 million over seven years as others in the organization have lost their jobs:
"The fact remains that the team has spent heedlessly compared with its NFL peers. The binge, while less than the numbers indicate, nevertheless will mean guaranteed payouts of $72.5 million to Haynesworth, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and guard Derrick Dockery -- at a time when the team has undergone not one but two rounds of staff cuts."

There is, of course another side to the story. The spend-money-to-make-money argument comes to mind. The Redskins apparently think that by investing in their product while trimming the proverbial corporate fat, the team stands to see long-term financial benefit.

However, that doesn't answer for the potential negative PR the move could make:

"The Haynesworth signing might be justifiable by itself, and it's likely to have a high impact on the team. But in combination with lower-wage layoffs, it's as troubling as it is exciting, and it sends a poor message."

Jenkins concludes:

"One good that could possibly come out of all this is that if Haynesworth, Hall and Dockery live up to their pay, if they perform and win, there is a chance some of those laid-off and seasonal workers can be rehired. Which should give every working stiff a rooting interest."

What do you think? In these tough economic times, should teams be more concerned about public perception?

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1 Comment

Nice to have you back blogging again, K. Allen!!!

OMG did you see the post of K. Koster with his Michigan State buddies?!? Did you go to E. Lansing as well? Why weren't you in the photograph?

Anyway, your blog today really makes me hate the media because this is a perfect example of 'darned if you do, darned if you don't.'

While Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins is bashing the Redskin organization for laying off staff while signing high priced free-agents, we have the media in Chicago ripping the Beloved for not signing any free agents (and remaining $30 mil under the salary cap).

Which is it? Would you rather have a team aggressively pursue high priced free agents or would you rather have K. Orton and D. Hester show during another 9-7 season - just as long as the 20 person marketing staff remains at Halas Hall.

Furthermore, S. Jenkins' column reeks of Jim Calhoun's "CHECK YOUR FACTS, THEN GET BACK TO ME!!"

The media reported A. Haynesworth signed a 7-year contract worth $100 million with reachable incentive bonuses, seven years, $115 million.

At closer look, the seven-year deal calls for A. Haynesworth to earn $29 million in 2013, $10.8 million in 2014 and $12 million in 2015.

I am reminded of players in Washington who were scheduled to make far less and who never made it to the pay window in the later years of their contracts. Deion Sanders signed a seven-year, $56-million deal with Washington in 2000, and lasted one year. Adam Archuleta and Brandon Lloyd similarly busted in 2006.

The last three years of the A. Haynesworth deal are agent recruiting years. They have no bearing on reality.

Linda S.

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin Allen published on March 4, 2009 9:35 AM.

For fans of cheerleaderless Bears -- here's what you're missing was the previous entry in this blog.

John C. Odom, the player who was traded for bats, died of an overdose in November is the next entry in this blog.

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